Facebook News, a new section on the app, is rolling out in the US. The tab is the result of Facebook’s push to host validated news sources within the Facebook app to help stop the spread of misinformation.
Though Facebook said the tab will appear at the top of the app for some users, for many others it will be hidden in the hamburger menu and will migrate to the top of your app if you “frequently” dig into the menu and use it.
This seems an odd way of pushing a major new initiative and could reflect Facebook’s underlying caution about promoting legitimate news sources – a confusing situation in itself. The platform has long wrestled with the issue of fake news on its platform, an issue that is said to have greatly affected the 2016 US Presidential election via the algorithmic effects of the distribution of unauthorised sources.
Facebook News now employs journalists to curate the feeds rather than algorithms according to TechCrunch. Users can react and share stories but cannot comment, a move designed to keep the attention on the validity of the sources included. Like other social media feeds, you’re able to hide articles, topics and publishers that aren’t of personal interest.
Those publishers have to qualify to be on the platform by measure of their audience size and integrity. In its explainer Facebook did not say what these parameters were, though the sections will use location data to promote local news.
Facebook told TechCrunch that it currently has “200 general news publishers” and that the majority of the rest are local outlets. It is not known if and when Facebook News will launch outside of the US.